This summer, the new Federal Commission on Long-Term Care is supposed to be trying to come up w with new ideas for long-term care (LTC) financing strategies.

Meanwhile, another group, the LTC Financing Collaborative, is hoping to publish LTC finance recommendations in 2014.

To me, it seems as if this is a good time to look back a bit and see how the private long-term care insurance (LTCI) part of the LTC community has evolved since 1996, when National Underwriter Life & Health — one of the print publications that feeds LifeHealthPro.com with content — began keeping electronic story archives.

This week, we’re putting out a special issue of our Health Insurance Insider newsletter that includes a sampling of some of the LTCI articles that National Underwriter and her sister publications have run over the years.

We’re putting in articles about marketing, product features, earlier innovation efforts, and early concerns about prices.

One lesson: It was hard for companies to set prices for these products because they really wanted consumersto have the products. 

A related lesson, that today’s LTC policymakers need to keep in mind is realism.

The policymakers may want to make any programs as big as possible, to maximize the number of people who have some kind of protection aagainst LTCI costs,

But, at the same time, the policymakers have to think with their heads as well as their hearts. Maybe the goal needs to be start out creating more small programs that work, rather than big, complicated programs that look good on paper but don’t actually work very well. 

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